Conference visit

20 December 2017

On 12 December 2017 the Media Science Research Team of the Research Centre for the Humanities of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences held a conference entitled ‘Mosaics of Media History’, where Paál Vince from the Institute for Media Studies presented in his capacity as a member of the Team a talk entitled The Debate in the House of Representatives about Articles Concerning the Press in the Csemegi Codex (Act V of 1878).

In his presentation, our colleague explained that the criminal code proposal included only a few articles concerning the press but that these generated heightened discussion during the debate in the House of Representatives. The opposition, which rejected the Austro-Hungarian compromise, objected especially to the article penalizing anyone who ‘incites’ in the press against a relationship with another state of the Monarchy or against the binding force of the law. The opposition interpreted this clause to mean that penalties would apply to any kind of endeavour, even peaceful ones, against any laws, including the Compromise Act. Thus the debate shifted to the public law antagonism between the governing party and its opposition and marked a direction away from debating the bill on its professional merits. Professional arguments and counterarguments were given limited space. The governing party was willing to diverge only slightly from the text finalized during the committee discussions. The opposition representatives speaking in the House did not have sufficient knowledge of either the law or jurisprudence to be able to present sound argumentation.